Chapter 336: Long time no see, Apple
In the middle of March.
Weibo had still not been launched. Xu Tingsheng’s next big move and Xingchen Technologies were still unknown to the world.
In the meantime, the situation with the education platforms across cities had basically been set, the battle drawing to a close. After its two pillars, Hu Chen and He Yutan, were lured away by Xu Tingsheng, Xueyou ultimately ended up losing its original stability and cool as expected.
The newly appointed Project Manager might have been in too much of a haste to prove himself, for he consecutively made a few risky and flawed moves which stranded Xueyou in dire straits.
Also, going by the performance of this new manager, it seemed like he had not the ability to overturn the raging tides, their defeat being a foregone conclusion.
Things were even worse for Youxin Toncheng. Lu Zhixin seemed to have entered a personal competition with Xu Tingsheng to see who could crush their opponent first as she relentlessly hounded them all throughout, tightening an invisible noose around their necks...some of their investors had already withdrawn their funds.
Besides facing one lawsuit after another, the boss of Youxin met unceasingly with trouble. He would deal with those problems, yet was ultimately helpless regarding operations.
As the capabilities and prospects of his company were called into question, he finally fell silent.
One must realise that it was he who had previously introduced the concept of ‘Three Kingdoms Contending for Supremacy', also having confidently declared that Hucheng would be dragged gradually into collapse. Also, he could not have expressed any more explicitly that Hucheng would be the first contender to leave the arena.
From the way things looked now, he might very well be the first player sent packing.
<<Three Kingdoms? Merely a one-sided slaughter>>
On March 14th, a fervent and heated yet still sound and logical post appeared on some major economic forum.
The post reminisced on the sudden appearance of Youxin and Xueyou as they aggressively caught Hucheng in a pincer attack, to when Hucheng had resumed its free-of-charge services and launched its mighty move ‘Are You Hungry’, to when they had set Youxin up for failure and directly lured away Xueyou’s key personnel.
The conclusion that it had never been like ‘Three Kingdoms’ in the first place. Before having even gained stable footing, Xueyou and Youxin had already been slaughtered one-sidedly without any way of retaliating at all.
Hucheng had even advanced as a result, with its scale, influence and earning power all increasing multifold.
The conclusion: Hucheng was like a tiger that resided in the mountains, and was never to provoke. If you ever provoke Xu Tingsheng, smack, smack! He will deliver you a good slap.
On reading this post, Xu Tingsheng thought, “Luckily, it’s still ‘smack, smack’ and not ‘smack, smack, smack’.”
The words in the post were inevitably rather more fervent and heated. The analyses into this by the media thereafter were more objective in comparison, also having more perspectives as well as layers of analysis. Still, whatever the case, they were all agreed that the so-called ‘battlefront of the Three Kingdoms’ had just been a one-sided slaughter in actuality with things having been comparatively relaxed for the victors.
Some media entities expressed frankly: If not for the fact that Youxin and Xueyou burned so much money in this, I’d really suspect that they were colluding to promote Hucheng’s name.
The strong advertising-like effect had been caused by the several intense discussions that it had evoked as well as the various twists and turns in the story. You might not have those even if you fully sponsored the New Year’s Gala.
As for why Hucheng who was at a disadvantage in terms of funds had ultimately been able to secure victory, besides some analyses on the overall course of events, such as those on the decisive effect of ‘Are You Hungry’ and Hucheng’s ‘covert operations’, there was one media organisation which played up the role of Xu Tingsheng’s personality in this entire episode.
Prompt and decisive action. Immediately after Hucheng’s opponents had appeared, it had promptly and decisively resumed its free-of-charge services. At the time, this had seemed like a move which basically cut off their own source of income. With Hucheng’s disadvantage in terms of funds, this was virtually equivalent to a valiant warrior dauntlessly severing his own arm.
Tolerance. Facing this tough predicament and their domineering opponents, being mocked and laughed at as the media all thought them doomed for failure, Xu Tingsheng had maintained his silence throughout, focusing on project development while also readying their plans to retaliate.
Ruthless. In the own words of this media dude:
“Boss Xu, please don’t sue me for libel. I really don’t want to use such a word on you who just turned twenty and are a role model for university entrepreneurs. Still, it’s true. I really can’t find any other word to make a more accurate description with. I hope you can see this as my praise, admiration and respect towards you. Out in the wide world, the strong has always presided over the weak, the victor reigning as king.”
Actually, how Xu Tingsheng had lured away and toppled Xueyou only contributed to a very small portion of these feelings of his. The greater part of it was because this dude did not know that there was someone called Lu Zhixin in Hucheng and her position, methods and capabilities.
Therefore, that series of actions executed by Lu Zhixin, including the merciless sueing of those companies for whom there had been a breach of contract that had directly led to the bankruptcy of two of them and her relentless hounding of Youxin-all of this was attributed to Xu Tingsheng.
Some even thought that the existence of that fake teacher with a bad record and even the two parents who had sued Youxin might have been carefully schemed by Hucheng from the start. Having been too full of themselves, Youxin had overlooked this and jumped right into the pit.
It was just that after Youxin’s Boss had said this once and been sued, no one had dared to mention this again...this was really malicious libel.
In truth, if Lu Zhixin did not expressly say that she did it, even Xu Tingsheng would not have such suspicions.
After this media dude had released his article, he was interviewed by other media entities, “You said such things about a youth entrepreneur idol. Is that really okay? Aren’t you afraid of being sued?”
This media dude expressed, “I trust in Boss Xu’s magnanimity. Moreover, he’s currently in the midst of ceaseless development and innovation, his future being unprecedented. There’s no need for him to come out of his way to deal with a minor guy like me.”
He thought that he would be fine if he praised Xu Tingsheng’s worth.
Yanzhou, Hucheng. Lu Zhixin said, “Contact our lawyers immediately. Send him a letter and sue him for personal attack and malicious libel, claiming for a compensation fee of five million yuan.”
Two days later, this media dude, “...”
With this precedent having been made, the later media reports mostly dared not focus on stuff like personality anymore. Concluding things from an objective viewpoint, the reason for Hucheng’s victory was still in its overall foresight and innovation in the first place.
Hucheng’s Xu Tingsheng was a heaven-blessed genius.
After a Physical Education lesson, Xu Tingsheng wiped off his sweat as he turned on his phone.
He had a missed call from the VP of Tianyi Media, Shao Jun.
Xu Tingsheng called him back.
Shao Jun spoke ‘painfully’ as soon as the call connected, “Boss Xu, Miss Apple’s album really can’t be delayed any longer. Do you know how badly Tianyi’s been scolded over the past half year? We’ve got to release the main song at the very least, alright?”
Xu Tingsheng said, “Okay.”
In the latter half of May 2004 going into June and July, Rebirth had been a major hit as they had performed in public for the first time at Xinyan Senior High’s anniversary performance. Then, as they were going viral on the web and amongst the media, they had announced their partnership with Tianyi Media along with the transfer of copyrights of their songs.
One thing mentioned was this: There was a song which Rebirth had never performed which was soon to be performed by Tianyi’s new artiste that had their full support.
This incident had previously led to a major dispute due to Apple’s unfair treatment. Coupled with how Apple had been suppressed and kept from performing, the incident had become even more of a focal point as the entire Rebirth webpage and many music forums had totally blown up over it.
More than half a year had passed since then.
Nothing had been heard of that song. Nothing had been heard of Apple.
“When is this farce going to end?”
Anticipation turned into disappointment which in turn turned into fury. Rebirth’s fans and Apple’s fans ceased to argue as they banded together and rebuked Tianyu, “Return us Rebirth’s songs. Return us Apple!”
Some fans started an online petition. In just a single week, the number of signatures easily went over five digits.
The furious fans printed and mailed a thread several hundred pages long to Tianyi…“We protest! Let your new artiste die already! Please return Rebirth’s new song to Apple, and let Apple sing it to us.”
The fans seemed to have found the perfect solution, even though it seemed difficult to actualise in reality.
Tianyi felt bitter but were hard pressed to defend themselves. Previously, it was because Apple had chosen to study overseas for half a year with them being unable to publicise this fact that they had been forced to unfairly suffer these criticisms.
Afterwards, Apple had finally returned after all this time, also having recorded her new song. Yet, Xu Tingsheng had then staged a buyout of Apple’s new album-truly unheard of indeed! There was actually someone who staged a buyout of a singer’s album for their company’s project.
12th April 2005.
Weibo, Xingchen Technologies, soundlessly went online.
The first registered user: Cen Xiyu.
The first words in Weibo: <<Long Time No See>>.
As a singer who had once been extremely popular for some time, even if fans were not all that familiar with Apple’s Chinese name, they would still know it. The first fan who coincidentally discovered this wondered: Isn’t Cen Xiyu Apple? And what does long time no see mean?
Said fan dashed swiftly towards the base where most fans of Apple and Rebirth congregated, Rebirth’s small webpage.
Title of thread, with picture attached: Apple’s coming back.
“Apple’s back? Where?”
“So what’s this Weibo?”
“I can’t really explain. Just look it up yourself.”
In one short day, from noon till midnight, the fans and the random onlookers who amounted to nearly ten thousand people in total successively surged into the previously unheard of Weibo, with the real fans all beginning to register as they left messages beneath that post of Apple’s:
Is it you?
Is it Apple?
Soon, Weibo’s customer service responded: Those with ‘v’s behind their names have all been verified as the actual person.
Thereafter, they began to guide the fans and the random onlookers in registering and leaving messages, starting their own Weibo.
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